An interesting fact, well to me anyway, that I discovered about The Crotals is that instead of using a bass they use a baritone guitar. This fits quite nicely as the Swiss band’s music of preference, judging by this album, is of a dark sludgy type. “Horde” is the band’s second album release.

Monstrous tones, roaring and dark atmospheric soundscapes are at the core of this. It has similarities with post metal but tracks like “La Horde” are sharper and more dynamic. Quiet build-ups are not really the order of the day. Instead it’s a noisy affair with hints of controlled chaos. This is heavy and extreme and dangerous and expansive. Here are ten fairly short slabs. The Crotals bombard us with their version of darkness. “Fissures” has a doom-like feel but the vocalist and thunderous instrumentals pound us with not only weight, but also violence. “Skogen” then provides contrast with its speed as well as the statutory heaviness. Sludginess prevails on the short “Overcrowded”. The album proceeds crunchily and forcefully in a riot of heavily technical riffs, reflecting dark and desperate scenes throughout its course.

The only problem I had with this album was that there was nothing exceptional about it. I liked the heaviness of “Horde”. It’s technically accomplished and you know you’ve listened to something. It simply smashes its way into your brain.

(7/10 Andrew Doherty)